After writing the above-noted 300 words on Thursday, I realized that I was really pushing to get the words out. The story didn't seem to be going anywhere; I was just putting words on the page and they weren't adding up to anything.
On Friday I did quite a bit of thinking about the story (I left the radio off during my commute) but didn't write anything down. However, I did earn a blue star for the day by resubmitting a story that bounced from Aeon (though I am beginning to suspect that story isn't going to sell).
Also on Friday I attended the Portland Auto Show as a field trip from work. No, really, we were researching user interactions in the new navigation-computer-equippped cars. Well, that was the rationale. The real reason was to give my two co-workers (Audi and BMW fanatic respectively) an excuse to go to the Auto Show on company time. I gave it my best shot, but fundamentally I find cars boring, and I left early. The coolest thing I saw was a life-sized Volvo made entirely of Lego, and the one really amusing thing was the BMW M6, which has an "M" button on the steering wheel that boosts the horsepower or something. Personally, I would rather have the "C" button to extend the rotating saws, or the "F" button for underwater operation.
Saturday and Sunday mornings I put in about two writing hours each, and wrote nearly 4000 words of notes about the plot and characters (using the questions from the "Sketch a Novel in an Hour" workshop conducted by Chris York at OryCon a few years back as an outline). Clearly the words can flow rapidly when I don't have to worry about picking the right word, or being consistent, or repeating myself. Maybe I need to approach the drafting process in this way. Anyway, this has been a worthwhile exercise and I think I'm ready to start over (keeping some of the existing words) and have it work better. Still don't know how long it's going to be, but longer than a short story.
Saturday afternoon was critique group, when I got some useful feedback on the Jupiter story. Everyone agreed it's in good shape, which was reassuring after the first (email) crit I'd received ripped it to shreds. I think I'll wait until I've received the last few crits from those who couldn't make it this week before revising it and sending it to Analog.
Saturday night we met up with mkhobson, jaylake, bibliothec, and Jay's daughter The Child for conversation, coffee, and snacks before douglain's book launch party. Unfortunately, kateyule and I had symphony tickets and couldn't attend the book launch itself.
This afternoon we attended a Japanese New Year celebration, featuring much energetic Taiko drumming and the pounding of mochi (sticky rice) as well as some very entertaining storytelling and dance. Happy New Year, all!
Oh, one more thing: my story "Tk'Tk'Tk" from the March Asimov's appeared in the Locus Recommended Reading list for 2005, along with many other fine stories. If you're looking for something new to read you could do worse than to check this list out.